In 2020, the “Harm Reduction Consortium” was awarded funding by the Robert Carr Fund (RCF) to deliver an exciting new project entitled: “The Global Drug Policy Index (GDPI): A bold new approach to improve policies, harm reduction funding, and the lives of people who use drugs”. The project centres around the development and delivery of a new composite index to document, measure and compare government policies related to illicit drugs. The Consortium believes that existing policies around the world, founded on a “war on drugs” narrative, exacerbate harms and lead to widespread human rights violations. The role of the Consortium is to document and promote policy reforms in favour of more humane responses – including harm reduction services and approaches.
Drug policy debates and policy-making processes are inherently complex, politically charged, multi-faceted and lacking in transparency. Utilising available data from governments, the UN and other sources, we are seeking to develop a robust methodology for the construction of a transparent index that allows for longitudinal assessment of a single state over time as well as comparison of performance between states at a given time – looking at a breadth of areas from public health, human rights, security and access to justice.
The GDPI seeks to build upon, and learn from, experiences with composite indices from a wide range of sectors, in order to harness their capability to exert considerable social and political pressure as a potent lever for policy change. We are looking to learn about: topic specific challenges arising from the study of drug policy and harm reduction; methodological issues related to the creation of a complex index that captures multi-dimensional phenomena drawing on a range of sources; and practical and political lessons on how to make such an index impactful, transparent and politically persuasive.
 For the purposes of this project, the Harm Reduction Consortium comprises: International Drug Policy Consortium (IDPC) as the lead partner, Harm Reduction International (HRI), Youth RISE, Women and Harm Reduction International Network (WHRIN), Middle East and North Africa Harm Reduction Association (MENAHRA), European Network of People who Use Drugs (EuroNPUD), Global Drug Policy Observatory at Swansea University (GDPO), Eurasian Network of People who Use Drugs (ENPUD), and West Africa Drug Policy Network (WADPN) – with the Eurasian Harm Reduction Association (EHRA) as an additional, non-financial partner.